'In effort to save people from Covid, we kill by fire'

In effort to save people from Covid-19, we kill them by fire: Supreme Court slams Gujarat government

Two major fire incidents occurred at Covid-19 hospitals last year in Gujarat

Supreme Court of India. Credit: PTI Photo

The Supreme Court on Friday slammed the Gujarat government for relaxing building norms for hospitals, saying that in the effort of saving people from the Covid-19 pandemic, it was killing them by fire.

The top court directed that the July 8 notification issued by the Gujarat government, restraining coercive action against the buildings having no building use (BU) permission, would be kept in abeyance. 

A bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and M R Shah said if a two-room place is converted to a hospital, one must take permission. 

The bench noted the Gujarat government came out with the notification suspending the general development control regulation (GDCR) and Town Planning Act.

Also Read | Over 1,000 Gujarat hospitals lack fire NoC: Govt to SC

It is shocking that the safety of citizens was not the priority. All governments converted places to hospitals, but it cannot justify that we will risk people’s safety, the court said.

“We are constantly exempting developers, violators from complying with law provisions. That’s all we are doing in this country," the bench said.

"Case after case, we see there is big mafia link between developers, planning authorities and law enforcement authorities. And people who suffer are citizens and we can’t tolerate this," an exasperated bench said.

The bench said in name of the pandemic, it would not simply tolerate or allow anything.

Two major fire incidents occurred at Covid-19 hospitals last year in Gujarat, following which the state government faced scrutiny by the top court. 

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